Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar Tuesday called on other politicians that dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to return to the PDP.
Atiku was received at the party’s Abuja secretariat by the chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi at 12 pm.
The former Vice President said it’s only by their returning to the PDP that he and other defectors could build a stronger and more united PDP that can regain power in 2019.
Addressing Makarfi, Atiku said, “All what I have come to do today is to come and show my face. Many people have read in the media that I have returned home. This is home.
“Let me pay tribute to past leadership of this great party wherever they may be and to call upon them to please return home as I have done.
“It is only by their returning home that we will build a stronger, more united party that can again return to government and continue to deliver the dividends of democracy.
“I can bet you the records we have achieved so far in governance; no government has yet even done 50 percent of what we have achieved in government, not to talk of equaling our performance in government”.
“Over the years, like any or every human organisation, PDP has faced its challenges. But I want to pay tribute to those who have stayed steadfast through thick and thin to see us through to this point.
“Now that we have learnt our lessons, I hope that we will be guided by the lessons we have learnt. And that is to make sure that we build an all-inclusive party, where every part of this country will have a sense of belonging and sense of participation”
Atiku commended the leadership of the PDP for keeping the party united despite many challenges and assured of his support and cooperation at all times.
He recalled that the PDP was founded on the principles of democracy, good governance, unity of the country and the prosperity of its people.
His return to the party, he said, was to help continue with the work of reforming and re-branding of the party, adding that the party must avoid tendencies that breed conflicts in the party.
“To achieve all these, there must be sacrifices, understanding and compromises in the process of achieving that. And that is what I speak to members to imbibe. But as you know, one thing that I will never compromise is the internal democracy process in a given political party. And I hope we all must have learnt our lessons.
“Mr Chairman, I want to congratulate you for a wonderful work which you have been doing to redeem the image of this party, to rebrand it and return it to its original form. I want to assure you of my support and cooperation at all times, to make sure that these objectives are achieved by you and subsequently by your successors”.
Atiku had, last week, announced his resignation from the APC where he and others had defected to in 2014 owing to disagreements with the then President Goodluck Jonathan.
Responding, Makarfi said Atiku has opened the flood gates and that the party expects more high profile returnees and new entrants into the PDP in the days ahead.
“So PDP must be prepared for this, and be ready to reconcile and reintegrate in such a way and manner that everybody will be treated and given a level playing field to purse his or her personal aspiration. That is what PDP must stand for if it has to survive.
The party chair denied the existence of any secret deal with Atiku for him to return to the party, adding that the ex-Vice President isn’t one to go for secret deals.
“You have returned in good time and you should continue to contribute in this reinvention, remodeling of our party so that come 2019, we can reclaim what we can claim as ours. Because we still remain the only true Democratic Party in the true sense of the word.
“We thank you for coming before the convention so that you can contribute to what we have started going forward. We will continue to consult you.
“You will also help us reinvent the vehicle that will take us to Aso rock in 2019, we are not just targeting Aso Rock, we are targeting the federal legislature, the states; both the executive and legislature. We are targeting the local governments.
“We want to sweep elections all across the country. As a united party, we have the capacity and we have the ability to do so,” Makarfi said.
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